Viet Nam News
QUẢNG NAM – Officials and teachers are pressing for more government assistance for school teachers in remote areas.
Nguyễn Đình An, head of the Education and Training Department in the mountainous Nam Trà My District of central Quảng Nam Province, said almost half of the 565 district teachers did not receive incentive pay because they were hired on short-term contracts.
Incentive pay accounts for 70 per cent of each teacher’s monthly salary. It is paid to entice teachers to work in the most deprived areas. But incentive pay is only paid to teachers with permanent or long-term contracts, by government decree.
An said short- and long-term contracts both require teachers to work hard and face the same difficulties.
According to an earlier government decree, teachers have also been eligible for another type of incentive pay based on geography since 2006 if they teach in disadvantaged areas for five years, before teaching in more desirable locations such as big cities.
Senior teachers who worked in disadvantaged areas before 2006 did not receive such incentive pay, according to An.
“Such experiences depress teachers”, An told the Nhân dân (People) newspaper.
In addition to incentive pay, housing and extra work hours are also needed. For example, teachers can practise forest-related farming in mountainous areas if forest land is allocated to them, according to An.
The Principal of Trà Vân Primary School, Hồ Văn Hạnh, said that during his 18 years of working in the remote mountainous area he saw teachers crossing springs and climbing mountains to reach schools.
In rainy season or between-crops, students from Cơ Tu ethnic groups usually drop out of schools because of hunger, he said. Teachers visit students’ houses to encourage them return to class during such times. Sometimes teachers even give families rice and salt to help relieve their hunger and gain their trust, Hạnh said.
Nguyễn Thị Thọ, a teacher from Quảng Nam Province’s Duy Xuyên District, said she lives far away from the school where she teaches.
“My students also become my children and sisters. They share with me their daily joy and sadness, since they live far from home,” she said.
Teacher Võ Thị Kim Ánh said she and her husband have both worked at the school for six years, but they do not have their own house. They had to send their son to be cared for by his maternal mother in her hometown, according to Ánh.
Teacher Đoàn Thị Quyên, who is 26 years old, usually hangs her mobile phone on tree branches in the front yard to get a signal so she can talk with family. — VNS